2 weeks in...
So, two weeks in to my 3 month programme, what are my thoughts so far?
The first phase is all about laying down the right foundations to ensure maximum progress later on, both from a nutrition and training perspective. A handy side-effect of this is reduced body fat (which will also make it easier to gain muscle), and I’m pleased to say I’ve already noticed changes in that regard, particularly around my middle.
On the exercise front, along with a session with my physiotherapist, my trainer Shaun has prescribed a programme to address a few postural issues and help straighten me out. Amongst other things, it seems the gradual overload of lifting and carrying my little boy around since he was born 18 months ago has taken its toll!
I’m doing some moves I’ve not practiced in a long time and some I’ve never done at all which is good to shake things up a bit. That alone has been a great motivational boost – it’s funny how you can find yourself in a rut without really realising it and mastering something new provides a challenge you have to focus on. It’s one of the many penny drop moments I’m hoping to have as I put myself back in the shoes of the client – look out for a dedicated blog on that in due course.
This first phase also involves some strength building in the form of 5 sets of 5 reps for some compound exercises such as split squats, shoulder presses and chin ups. Shaun has me carefully controlling the tempo, taking 3-4 seconds for the eccentric (lowering) part of the movement, which dramatically affects the weight you can lift, but really places focus on form and technique.
Quality not quantity
I’m only doing 3 sessions per week, with an occasional 4th where I can. That was one of my criteria for the programme - as much as I love training I don’t want to be spending most of my evenings and weekends at the gym at the expense of seeing my family. As you can imagine though, those 3 sessions are intense - it’ll be interesting to see what effect this approach has on my progress.
Diet-wise, that’s been the biggest change for me. Rather than breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2-3 snacks, I’m eating 5 full meals a day, each containing protein, good fats and truck loads of vegetables. I’m also drinking at least 3 litres of water and plenty of green tea. It’s helped to regulate my energy levels and aid my concentration with obvious benefits for all aspects of my life. The variety has also been great – you need lots of different foods just so you’re not eating the same thing every other meal. It’s the planning and preparation that takes the time as you really have to think ahead, which reminds me, I need to get that steak out of the freezer for breakfast tomorrow…
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